Attributional Retraining: Rethinking Academic Failure to Promote Success

The NCTN Research to Practice Briefs are designed to disseminate emerging college transition research from a variety of sources in a user-friendly format.

One of the biggest concerns for teachers and counselors is how to encourage college-transition students to continue down the exciting but long academic road that lies ahead of them. Current research finds that for academically unprepared or under-prepared students, traits in the so-called “affective domain,” such as degree of motivation or level of anxiety, are more important predictors of student performance than traits in the “cognitive domain” such as academic ability (Hill, 2004). Attributional Retraining (AR) is designed to enhance motivation and encourage achievement by changing how students think about their academic successes and failures so that their beliefs work for, rather than against, their chances or academic success. 2006.

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